The Classic Garden in Askerswell was without a doubt a turning pointing in my design career. The site was originally a large field, belonging to a lovely grade two-listed farmhouse, situated next to a churchyard with stunning views of Eggardon Hill. It was also north facing with uncompromising wind tunnels, frost pockets and undulations pointing in every direction. I realised that if I could design a garden with so many challenges, I could design anything (well almost!)
The clients are a couple with two grown up children and Alfie, the gardener’s four-legged companion! The overall brief was to create a typical classic garden with a formal layout incorporating several ‘rooms’. With this in mind the garden has been designed so that it cannot be viewed as a whole, using bold curves that complement the surrounding landscape, emphasised by strategically placed focal points.
A level survey was required for this project and the garden was constructed during 2004 in phases, beginning with the basic layout and hard landscaping. The retaining wall was built from sandstone that was discovered while the landscapers were excavating – buried ‘treasure’ that proved to be a huge a saving for the client!
Rebecca, the lady of the house, is a keen gardener with a good knowledge of plants so we have worked together over the years to develop the borders and maintain the garden. A planting plan was required to define the structure and the overall colour scheme of cool blues, purples, pinks and magenta with accents of silver.
Some areas are planted for seasonal interest. The ‘eye catching border’ is particularly vibrant in the autumn, while the winter border is planted with three multi- stemmed Betula utilis var. jacquemontii silver birches, which contrast well with the dogwood, Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’.
The full design has never been implemented, which is always disappointing for a designer, however it has been a great pleasure to work with the client and watch this special place evolve into what has effectively become a plantswoman’s garden.